VIV Bronson, head chef at Compton Acres award-winning Café and Tearooms, shares her authentic Italian recipe with the Bournemouth Daily Echo for this bright and bold Neapolitan cake.

To many, Naples is the world capital of culinary delights. Calzoni pizza, spaghetti alla vongole, sfogliatelle – these are just a handful of dishes the Italian coastal city is known for. One of its most famous exports is the Neapolitan Cake – an irresistible traditional delight that is recreated by Viv and the team at Compton Acres.

The Neapolitan Cake is a colourful combination of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry sponges brought together with deliciously sweet and creamy buttercream. It’s the perfect cake to enjoy all year round – packed with bold flavours and sure to satisfy the sweetest tooth.

Why not make your own Neapolitan cake with this simple recipe? If you want to taste it before you make it, visit Compton Acres Café and Tearoom, where they have an array of tempting treats on offer, including the Neapolitan Cake. Forget the weather – a slice of this will transport you to Italy’s sunnier climes!


Cake layers:

• 335g caster sugar

• 335g baking margarine

• 6 large eggs

• 335g self-raising flour

• Pinch salt

• 30g cocoa

• Pink food colouring

• Vanilla extract

• 1 Tablespoon milk

Buttercream icing:

• 300g unsalted butter, room temperature

• 600g icing sugar

• Cocoa

• Hot water

• Vanilla extract

• Strawberry purée or sieved strawberry jam


1. Grease and line 3 x 23cm / 9-inch sandwich cake tins with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/160 degrees C fan oven/gas mark 5.

2. Cream together the sugar and margarine until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula occasionally and add a spoonful or two of flour between eggs if the mixture begins to curdle.

4. Divide the cake batter equally between 3 bowls.

5. Stir 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract into the first bowl. Sift the cocoa into the second bowl and add a little milk, if necessary, to adjust the consistency. Add sufficient pink colouring to the batter in the third bowl to achieve a pretty shade of pink.

6. Transfer each bowl of cake batter into one of the prepared cake tins and level the tops.

7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the cakes are baked and a skewer or cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

8. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

9. Whilst the cakes are cooling prepare the buttercream. Starting on slow speed, mix the butter and half of the icing sugar together. Gradually increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Fold in the remainder of the icing sugar on slow speed and mix for a few more minutes. If the icing is too stiff, add a little water or milk.

10. Mix together a couple of tablespoons of sifted cocoa with hot water to form a smooth paste. Allow it to cool.

11. Transfer about a quarter of the buttercream into a small bowl. Add enough of the cooled cocoa paste to achieve a good chocolate taste and colour. If the chocolate buttercream is too stiff, add a drop or two of water to soften it.

12. Transfer a similar quantity of buttercream to another small bowl and gently fold in the strawberry purée to create a pretty pink strawberry-flavoured buttercream. If using strawberry flavouring, you may also need to add some pink colouring.

13. Flavour the remainder of the buttercream with vanilla extract.

14. Place the chocolate cake on a cake board or serving plate and spread with some of the chocolate buttercream. Put the pink cake on next and spread with some of the strawberry buttercream. Lastly, place the vanilla cake on top and cover the top and sides of the cake with vanilla buttercream.

15. Using a knife, spread a thin smear of chocolate buttercream around the bottom of the cake, on top of the vanilla buttercream. Repeat with a thin smear of strawberry buttercream around the centre of the cake and, if desired, use a plastic cake scraper or palette knife to smooth the buttercream around the side of the cake.

16. Smear a thin line of chocolate buttercream up the inside of a piping bag prepared with a plain or star piping tube, and a thin line of strawberry buttercream up the other side. Place the remaining vanilla buttercream in the piping bag and twist the top of the bag to close it. Pipe swirls or bulbs of tri-coloured buttercream on top of the cake, to decorate.